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My father has had a stroke, but can take care of himself, physically. He has special equipment for the shower and had training through Home Health. However, he refuses to take a shower; it has now been 5+ weeks. He lives with my brother who is non-assertive. We know he is depressed, but he is on anti depressants. Any suggestions on how to entice him to get clean? Thanks
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I have had this situation with my dad while he was living here. There isn't an easy solution to this dilemma I am afraid. I resorted to bed baths, and when he refused those I told him that he would have to either shower or a bedbath because he *STINKS*, and was living in my familyroom off my kitchen. He is a very proud man, and I think he was insulted, but it worked.
Cheri, Maybe your father is experiencing some anxiety over getting in the shower or simply "afraid" of the water coming down on him. Maybe you can get your brother to stay with him in the bathroom while he is in the shower? But I agree with Robin, if all else fails resort to bed baths. My mother who is 89 now, has Alzheimers and was deathly afraid of the water hitting her. It was such a challenge for me to get her in the shower. I finally gave up and had an agency send someone in to put her in the shower. That worked although mom gave her a rough time and screamed through most of it. Although your situation is different, a stroke victim can experience many of the same fears as Alzheimers patients. Just a thought but see if your brother can stay with him in the bathroom, if not either a bed bath or an agency coming in to do it. Maybe that will help. Good luck!!

My grandmother has Alzheimers and when she was at her worst she refused to get in the shower, she said that she cleaned herself up and that was good enough. My grandmother lives with my dad and stepmom. My stepmom would tell my grandma to come and talk to her while she took a shower. When stepmom was done she told grandma it was her turn. Grandma would get in (she refused to use the shower chair) stepmom would hold her arm with the curtain closed. They have the routine down now to every other day. It is working well. You may just have to talk him through all of it and help him or tell him about the agency will send someone.

I care for my 89 year old father-in-law. At his sickest I had to give him a shower. He used the shower chair. At first he was very selfconcious about me seeing him naked. I told him that I wasn't paying any attention to him, that I was only there to make sure he didn't get hurt. After that he was fine with it.

Sorry for such a long reply, but I hope it helps.

Thanks for your input. Can you tell me what agency(ies) would be willing to come in and force someone to take a shower, while yelling, etc? I know that our Home Health wouldn't. It may come to that. Dad has admitted that he is afraid of falling in the shower. He has been assured that my brother can be there with him getting in and out and he can stay seated while showering, etc. Thanks again.
Cheri, I must apologize I didn't mean to mislead you in the fact that my mother was forced to shower by the agency. There were several times when she absolutely refused and ended up with just a sponge bath. But hey, that worked too. Also, my mother wears 2 hearing aids. So when she gets in the bath and shower, they must come out as dampness and moisture will destroy a hearing aid very quickly. She would yell through the entire process number one because she was afraid of the water and number two because she couldn't hear and people with hearing problems talk louder, regardless if it were me or someone else. We were fortunate enough to have one lady from a local agency that was able to come in week after week and get her in the shower with little or no difficulty. When she had the day off or was on vacation was when we had difficulty, the substitute so to speak.
Now that you are aware of your fathers fears of falling and have addressed them, maybe he will be more cooperative if someone is just standing by in the bathroom. A shower chair is a good start, how about grab bars in the shower? In any case, I do wish you luck! Please continue to post any further problems or concerns as someone will always be able to offer some type of advice.

[This message has been edited by Mardell (edited 04-27-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Mardell (edited 04-27-2005).]
As I was reading on this topic, I realized that there is an element that wasn't mentioned and that is the possibility that refusal to take baths or showers may be because of the humiliation and somewhat "unnatural" discomfort that goes along with having one of your own family, especially your children, bathe you.
I know that with my own mom, this is an issue. Some families have different degrees of intimacy and different dynamics. I know that any contact with her very personal body parts by me just mortifies her.
She does a bit better with the aides.
There are even times when she will let a bad situation get worse to avoid having me deal with her in this way.
And let me be honest. I have an enormously difficult time with it myself. Not that I don't love my mother, but our relationship just doesn't lend itself to this.
In fact, if anyone has some advice on overcoming this, I would greatly appreciate it. I feel guilty about is alot, but it comes from both of us.

God Bless,

Dear Margaret:
Do you live with/care for your father? If so, then after he goes to bed, take his clothes from his room and either replace them with fresh, or wash them and then put them back in his room. I had the same problem with my mother and this is what I had to do. Before Alzheimer's she was NEVER like this. She would shower daily and put on fresh clothes. Now, showers are a real struggle. Since the disease has progressed, she is not aware how often she is changing clothes; her short term memory is pretty much gone, so that is no longer an issue.
I wish you well in your journey with your dad.
Hi Margaret:

Mimi has a good suggestion. And I agree with her that showers are a real struggle. It is even harder when it a father I think. Luckily I have my son to help with my dad. Not that it is any easier however. Dad still has a mind of his own and can be difficult about some things.

Showers are easier for them. Do you have the flexible shower head and a bench that your dad can sit down on? One of the big problems is that showers are slippery. Also, grab bars are helpful...

Another thought would be to get outside help. There are agencies that will come in and, for elderly people, a weekly appointment would be enough. IF they can't get them in the shower, then a sponge bath is better than nothing. Plus, your dad may decide it is easier just to shower on his own than fight the outside help!

Anyhow, just a few thoughts here. I hope they help. Good luck!

Hugs from Glenda
Dear Mimi:
I got your reply to the problem with caring for my father who has alzheimers/diemensia.
You suggested to remove his clothes from his room after he goes to sleeps and wash them then. The only problem with this is that he sleeps in the same clothes for many days before he will want to change them.

He has been a bit better about allowing me to give him showers. But there is still alot of work to be done there also.

Each day brings new challanges and hurdles. I take one day at a time.

Any other advice you might beable to give me regarding "hygene" would be most helpful.
Dear Margaret:

How is your father's short term memory? If he is forgetting things quickly, you can tell him he's been wearing the clothes for a week now and he HAS to remove them. Lying is something I was not comfortable with until a therapist told me that these kinds of lies are "therapeutic lies" and can save our sanity.

Margaret, there is a book called "The 36 Hour Day" written about Alz and dementia. I highly recommend the book. A lot of people at this site have read it. You will find a lot of useful information. Also, go on the internet and do a search under Alzheimer's and/or dementia. I spent over two years of evenings researching Alzheimer's on the internet...there is so much information. Of course, continue to post here and ask questions. There are many people here that are knowledgable and very willing to share. Margaret, the more you learn about Alzheimer's, the better prepared you will be to deal with it and the more understanding you will become. I wish you well,

[This message has been edited by MIMI427 (edited 09-13-2006).]

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